“The world’s longest, hardest and most adventerous mountain bike stage race” – the Crocodile Trophy – will start in north Queensland, Australia, on Saturday.
Wolfgang Krenn will return to make an assault on the Crocodile Trophy title after finishing second overall in 2011.
The Austrian is one of 170 riders set to start the nine-stage race but Jeroen Boelen will not defend the title won last year.
For the first time, two public races will also take place over the first two stages of the course as part of the Crocodile Trophy MTB Festival hosted by the local Cairns Mountain Bike Club.
The World Cup track in Smithfield, Cairns, will be included in the race for the first time, with riders completing five laps on the 30km opening stage, before the 92km second stage to Lake Tinaroo.
The remaining seven stages will generally be shorter than previous editions but with considerably more off-road sections. Riders will race for almost 1,000 km over the course of the Crocodile Trophy, with the final stage the longest at 140km.
Each night camp will be set up in mining towns and at cattle stations in some of the most remote parts of the Australian Outback. The race track takes riders over corrugated fire trails, through river crossings, down technical descents and through the forbidding landscape of rocky service roads without an inch of shade.
Many sections of the infamous Bicentennial National Trail will feature this year and, after a ten year break, the legendary stage through the Quinkan Aboriginal Reserve from Maytown to Laura will be revived.
We’ll bring you reports from each stage, as well as photo galleries from the epic Australian Outback, here on Bikemagic.